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India allocates $1.25 billion for AI mission

Proposal also includes funding provisions for industry-led AI projects aimed at fostering social impact

India allocates $1.25 billion for AI mission
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

India has approved a national-level IndiaAI mission with a budget outlay of 10,371.92 crore ($1.25 billion) for five years to promote the artificial intelligence ecosystem in the country. 

The corpus, approved by the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, will be used to establish a comprehensive ecosystem for artificial intelligence innovation through strategic programs and partnerships across the public and private sectors. 

The government said the scheme would drive responsible, inclusive growth of India’s AI ecosystem by democratizing computing access, improving data quality, developing indigenous AI capabilities, attracting top AI talent, enabling industry collaboration, providing startup risk capital, ensuring socially impactful AI projects, and bolstering ethical AI. 

The mission will be implemented by ‘IndiaAI Independent Business Division (IBD) under Digital India Corporation (DIC) on a public-private partnership model. 

Initiatives like the IndiaAI Compute Capacity, IndiaAI Innovation Centre (IAIC), IndiaAI Datasets Platform, IndiaAI Application Development Initiative, IndiaAI FutureSkills, IndiaAI Startup Financing, and Safe & Trusted AI will be promoted under the mission. 

Union electronics and IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the mission will benefit Indian citizens and contribute to the expansion of India’s economy.

“AI is going to be the kinetic enabler for India’s digital economy. Prime Minister Modi has always said that India is going to fully exploit the power of AI for the benefit of its citizens and for the expansion of its economy,” the minister said. 

This financial outlay will fortify the Indian AI startup financing mechanism, facilitating streamlined access to funding for budding AI startups and catalyzing their journey from product development to commercialization, the government said in a press release. 

The proposal also includes funding provisions for industry-led AI projects aimed at fostering social impact, and propelling innovation and entrepreneurship.

The IndiaAI Innovation Centre (IAIC) will be a leading academic institution, ensuring streamlined implementation and retention of top research talent. Funds approved by the Cabinet will enable IAIC to spearhead the development and deployment of foundational models, with a specific emphasis on indigenous large multimodal models (LMMs) and domain-specific models, leveraging edge and distributed computing for optimal efficiency.

The IndiaAI Datasets Platform, which will be developed by the Independent Business Division (IBD) of IndiaAI, is slated to receive a boost to enhance accessibility, quality, and utility of public sector datasets, to ensure data-driven governance and catalyzing AI-based innovation and research.

Simultaneously, the IndiaAI FutureSkills program will focus on expanding the reach of AI education by increasing the accessibility of graduate and post-graduate AI programs, while also establishing Data and AI Labs that will not just be spread across major Indian cities but also smaller towns and cities to impart foundational-level courses in Data and AI.

“These initiatives aim to bolster India’s global leadership in AI, foster technological self-reliance, ensure ethical and responsible AI deployment, and democratize the benefits of AI across all strata of society,” the government said. 

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